La nouvelle Cythère  

Germaine Tailleferre
La nouvelle Cythère
Philippe Ferro, conductor
Musique des Gardiens de la Paix de la Préfecture de Police de Paris, orchestra

VOL C 332

Price for one CD : 5.90 €

Listen all tracks :

Track, Title Listen Caddy
01. Ouverture (5:05) 0.69
Nouvelle Cythère
02. Prélude-Galop (4:54) 0.69
03. Scène (3:40) 0.69
04. Courante (1:53) 0.69
05. Pavane (3:01) 0.69
06. Nocturne (2:07) 0.69
07. Bucolique (1:34) 0.69
08. Alla Marcia (2:06) 0.69
09. Menuet (3:00) 0.69
10. Final (5:39) 0.69
11. 1. Allegretto (5:43) 0.69
12. 2. Tranquillo (2:27) 0.69
13. 3. Allegro (2:14) 0.69
Suite II
14. 1. Andantino (4:27) 0.69
15. 2. Andante con moto (4:06) 0.69
16. 3. Allegretto (1:30) 0.69
17. 4. Allegro (2:20) 0.69
18. Marche (3:57) 0.69
19. Fox (1:20) 0.69

Total Time 1:01:06

Germaine Tailleferre and the wind band

The story began in 1970, the fiftieth anniversary of the Les Six. The musicologist Frédéric Robert (who, among other things, wrote a biography of Durey) had proposed a celebration at Issy-les-Moulineaux. The director of the conservatorium at the time was Désiré Dondeyne who had been a student of the Gallon brothers and of Tony Aubin, under whom he gathered a number of awards. He was now the conductor of the Wind Band of the Paris Gardiens de la Paix. The programme for the concert was to consist solely of pieces by each of Les Six for wind band, but one member of Les Six had not composed anything for these forces: Germaine Tailleferre. Frédéric Robert introduced Dondeyne to her: they agreed that the Partita for woodwinds and chamber orchestra would be transcribed, replacing the strings with a woodwind ensemble. The result was a triumph, Germaine saying that the transcription had lent new vitality to the work.

Two years later, on the occasion of Germaine's eightieth birthday, the Gardiens de la Paix Wind Band included in their programme Dondeyne's transcription of the Overture for a comic opera, originally written in 1932. Germaine was enthusiastic and declared: "If I had my time again, I would write only for wind band!" "What will it take to get you to write an original work for wind band?" "A discount of twenty years on my age!" she replied, but then added, looking at Dondeyne, "I'll write for you."

In fact from then on, Germaine entrusted to Dondeyne the task of transcribing a certain number of her symphonic works for the band that he conducted. "It's a child we're creating together," she used to say. The works recorded here have not all been transcribed under the personal supervision of the composer, but all have been transcribed in deference to her spirit, for forces that Germaine considered "full of wit and youthfulness".

The works on this recording


This was commissioned by Pierre Monteux for the Christmas concert in 1932 of the Paris Symphony Orchestra. Germaine had been invited to write a comic opera in collaboration with Henri Jeanson, and she gave to Monteux the overture that she had already prepared for this opera. It was given an unprecedented reception: after a storm of applause, the Orchestra had to repeat the work right from the beginning. Nothing, it seemed, had better combined a sense of inspiration, an unbending joie de vivre, a touch of melancholy (during a brief recitative and oboe solo) and a recapitulation of initial rhythmic exuberance and cheerfulness.

La Nouvelle Cythère.

The Russian Ballet had, during the twenties, obtained the collaboration of Auric, Poulenc, and Milhaud. Diaghilev had for his part suggested to Germaine Tailleferre that they work on an idea for a ballet inspired by Bougainville and his eighteenth-century voyage of discovery of Melanesian civilisation. This was the Tahiti that had seemed to the French sailors under the command of Bougainville like some new kingdom of Venus, a manifestation of happiness emerging as the fruit of a mixture of innocence, generosity and love. Unfortunately, the death of Diaghilev put a stop to the project. But the score was ready, and all that was needed was to unearth it, identify, revise and arrange it and, one day, perhaps even produce it. The work consists of ten tableaux.

Prélude - Galop.

In the small hours, a cannon shot fired from the ship shatters the Island's peace. The Islanders gather in a rush. Initially they hold back, but then relax and even throw a party for the sailors.


The Chief receives Bougainville and three junior officers in his hut. A dance is performed by three young girls and Aotourou, the son of the Chief.


Old Philibert, the expedition's botanist, is gathering samples, together with Jean, his young assistant. Aotourou follows their exercise with curiosity.


Some girls surround Jean. They try in vain to tempt him. Twilight descends on the Island. The three officers and their companions dance a French pavane.


Aotourou drives away the girls and manages to make Jean understand that he believes that he has uncovered a secret: that Jean is a woman clothed as a man.


(The pastoral character of the music contrasts the men's excitement with the calm of nature). Some sailors passing by set about freeing Jean from Aotourou. In the fracas we see that Aotourou is right: Jean is a woman! Philibert had disguised Jeanne, his colleague, so that he could bring her on the expedition.

Alla Marcia - Menuet.

Everyone laughs and Bougainville forgives. But Aotourou begs to be allowed to board the ship to be with Jeanne. She offers no objection. They dress Aotourou in French clothes, and all the Tahitians present are taught to dance the minuet by the light of the moon.


Dawn returns. The trumpets sound the departure. The women are sad. The Chief gives his blessing to his son and Jeanne. Once the sailors go, the Tahitian women go back to their menfolk to be consoled. The landscape's serene calm returns, mixed with wistfulness.

Partita for flute, oboe, clarinet and small wind band.

Allegro - Tranquillo - Rondo. This was the piece that revealed to Germaine Tailleferre the secrets and virtues of the wind band.

Second Suite for Wind Band. Andantino - Andante con moto - Allegretto - Allegro.

This is a transcription of the Suite for orchestra, dated 1949 and dedicated to Françoise Tailleferre, the composer's daughter. A work in popular style that displays the freshness and delicacy that are the constant qualities of the composer's music. The title was intended to avoid confusion with the earlier transcription of the Suite-Divertimento for wind band.


This was specially conceived for the Wind Band of the Gardiens de la Paix. Germaine originally gave it the title of "Marche burlesque", then… "Marche militaire"! Then she settled for "Marche", which gives little idea of the facetious nature of the piece which has little to do with things military!


This undated foxtrot shows Germaine's fascination (shared by the other members of Les Six) for this Anglo-Saxon type of dance with a strong duple rhythm. The arrangement is by the composer herself, bringing together the flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, bassoon (replaced here by a baritone saxophone), trumpet, tuba, timpani, percussion, celeste, harp and double bass.

Christopher Anderson'''

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